Because you are disabled.

File for disability benefits.

Appeal your case.

How you presented your initial application was the best you could do at that time given what you knew and were told.

But, if you were not successful, appeal (1) because you are disabled and (2) because you can improve on your presentation.

Monday, February 24, 2014


  • Unexplained exertional activities

  • Uncorroborated medication side effects

  • Testimony inconsistencies with other statements

The claimant alleged that he was disabled because he suffered from “spontaneous pneumothorax, emphysema, anxiety, depression, heart problems, disfigured left index finger and hand, and learning disabilities.” 

On appeal, the federal district court rejected the claimant’s three arguments, including one based on the claimant’s subjective complaints.  The Arkansas court noted its precedent that a claimant’s credibility is primarily a matter for the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to decide.

Here the court recited Social Security rules that required the ALJ in considering the claimant’s subjective complaints to review all the evidence that related to: “(1) Plaintiff's daily activities; (2) the duration, frequency, and intensity of his pain; (3) precipitating and aggravating factors; (4) dosage, effectiveness, and side effects of his medication; and (5) functional restrictions.”

Citing precedent, the court stated: “an ALJ may discount those complaints where inconsistencies appear in the record as a whole.”

The adjudicator at the Social Security hearing level found, among other facts, that the claimant mowed the lawn and, when presenting for medical care for “weakness/dizziness, and diaphoresis,” he had been out working in the heat “all day.” Additionally, the ALJ noted that “although Plaintiff alleged various side effects from the use of medication, the medical records, such as office treatment notes, did not corroborate those allegations.”

Further, the court stated that the “The ALJ considered Plaintiff's allegations of totally disabling pain, and evaluated his testimony in comparison with prior statements and other evidence.”


Based on the federal court decision, without the benefit of examining the entire case record, weaknesses in the claimant’s case included:

1.  Unexplained exertional activities such as mowing the lawn and doing work in the heat.

2.  Allegations of medication side effects not found in contemporaneous medical records.

3.  Inconsistencies between testimony and other statements in the case file.

James v. Colvin, No. 12-5249 (D. W.D. Ark., Feb. 19, 2014), available at,+no.+12-5249&hl=en&as_sdt=40000006

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